Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tim Kaine Says Democrats Have 40 Percent Chance of Gaining Control of the House of Delegates

According to an article Tim Craig wrote for the Washington Post, Gov. Tim Kaine has said that there is about a 40% chance that the Democrats will gain control of the House of Delegates. He continued, however, by pointing out that at this point in time in the 2007 elections most people didn't think that they could gain control of the state senate -- something that was accomplished when George Barker earned the nickname "21" by narrowly defeating Republican incumbent Jay O'Brien. Kaine also told Craig and other reporters from the Post that he believed that the contested gubernatorial contest could end up strengthening the Democratic Party as long as the candidates avoided setting an extremely negative tone.

While pundits will take on added interest in Kaine's predictions when you consider that he is also the chairman of the DNC, the message that activists should take away from these predictions is that we must work extremely to support Democratic candidates for the House of Delegates. This is an important task because even though there are a few moderate Republicans in the House, the GOP's leadership has made it clear that they won't allow any legislation get through the chamber unless it has approval of the extreme right wing.

A 40% chance of gaining control might not be as high as we'd like, but it does mean that there is a decent shot of the House being lead by a political party that promotes commonsense ideas instead of extreme partisanship. The relatively low chances of Democrats gaining control featured in Kaine's prediction also serve as a reminder that we cannot take recent electoral trends for granted and we must make sure the general public understands what's at stake.

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